Uncommon Measures

Equivalence and Linkage Among Educational Tests

Michael J. Feuer

Paul W. Holland

Bert F. Green

Meryl W. Bertenthal

F. Cadelle Hemphill, Editors

Committee on Equivalency and Linkage of Educational Tests

Board on Testing and Assessment

Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1999



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--> Uncommon Measures Equivalence and Linkage Among Educational Tests Michael J. Feuer Paul W. Holland Bert F. Green Meryl W. Bertenthal F. Cadelle Hemphill, Editors Committee on Equivalency and Linkage of Educational Tests Board on Testing and Assessment Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1999

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--> NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. The study was supported by Contract/Grant No. ED-98-CO-0005 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Education. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for this project. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Uncommon measures: equivalence and linkage among educational tests / Michael J. Feuer, … [et al.], editors; Committee on Equivalency and Linkage of Educational Tests. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 0-309-06279-9 1. Educational tests and measurements—United States—Interpretation. 2. National Assessment of Educational Progress (Project) I. Feuer, Michael J. II. National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Equivalency and Linkage of Educational Tests. LB3060.8 .U53 1999 371.26'0973—dc21 98-40263 Additional copies of this report are available from National Academy Press , 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20418 Call (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area) This report is also available online at http://www.nap.edu Printed in the United States of America Copyright 1999 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

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--> Committee on Equivalency and Linkage of Educational Tests PAUL W. HOLLAND (Chair), Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley ROBERT C. CALFEE, School of Education, Stanford University, and School of Education, University of California, Riverside JOHN T. GUTHRIE, Department of Human Development, University of Maryland, College Park RICHARD M. JAEGER, School of Education, University of North Carolina, Greensboro PATRICIA ANN KENNEY, Learning Research and Development Center, University of Pittsburgh VONDA L. KIPLINGER, Colorado Department of Education DANIEL M. KORETZ, RAND, Washington, D.C., and Center for the Study of Testing, Evaluation, and Educational Policy, Boston College FREDERICK C. MOSTELLER, Department of Statistics, Harvard University PETER J. PASHLEY, Law School Admission Council, Newtown, Pennsylvania DORIS REDFIELD, Educational Consultant, Richmond, Virginia WILLIAM F. TATE, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Wisconsin, Madison DAVID THISSEN, Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill EWART A.C. THOMAS, Department of Psychology, Stanford University LAURESS L. WISE, Human Resources Research Organization, Alexandria, Virginia ROBERT L. LINN, ex officio, Board on Testing and Assessment, School of Education, University of Colorado, Boulder MICHAEL J. FEUER, Study Director BERT F. GREEN, Senior Technical Adviser MERYL W. BERTENTHAL, Senior Research Associate F. CADELLE HEMPHILL, Senior Research Associate NANCY KOBER, Editorial Consultant VIOLA C. HOREK, Administrative Associate LISA D. ALSTON, Senior Project Assistant

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--> Board on Testing and Assessment ROBERT L. LINN (Chair), School of Education, University of Colorado, Boulder CARL F. KAESTLE (Vice Chair), Department of Education, Brown University RICHARD C. ATKINSON, President, University of California IRALINE BARNES, The Superior Court of the District of Columbia PAUL J. BLACK, School of Education, King's College, London RICHARD P. DURÁN, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Santa Barbara CHRISTOPHER F. EDLEY, JR., Harvard Law School, Harvard University PAUL W. HOLLAND, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley MICHAEL W. KIRST, School of Education, Stanford University ALAN M. LESGOLD, Learning Research and Development Center, University of Pittsburgh LORRAINE McDONNELL, Department of Political Science, University of California, Santa Barbara KENNETH PEARLMAN, Lucent Technologies, Inc., Warren, New Jersey PAUL R. SACKETT, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis RICHARD J. SHAVELSON, School of Education, Stanford University CATHERINE E. SNOW, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University WILLIAM L. TAYLOR, Attorney at Law, Washington, D.C. WILLIAM T. TRENT, Associate Chancellor, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign JACK WHALEN, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, Palo Alto, California KENNETH I. WOLPIN, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania MICHAEL J. FEUER, Director VIOLA C. HOREK, Administrative Associate

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--> Foreword President Clinton's 1997 proposal to create voluntary national tests in reading and mathematics catapulted testing to the top of the national education agenda. The proposal turned up the volume on what had already been a contentious debate and drew intense scrutiny from a wide range of educators, parents, policy makers, and social scientists. Recognizing the important role science could play in sorting through the passionate and often heated exchanges in the testing debate, Congress and the Clinton administration asked the National Research Council, through its Board on Testing and Assessment (BOTA), to conduct three fast-track studies over a 10-month period. This report and its companions—Evaluation of the Voluntary National Tests: Phase 1 and High-Stakes: Testing for Tracking, Promotion, and Graduation—are the result of truly heroic efforts on the part of the BOTA members, the study committee chairs and members, two co-principal investigators, consultants, and staff, who all understood the urgency of the mission and rose to the challenge of a unique and daunting timeline. Michael Feuer, BOTA director, deserves the special thanks of the board for keeping the effort on track and shepherding the report through the review process. His dedicated effort, long hours, sage advice, and good humor were essential to the success of this effort. Paul Holland, a member of the Board, deserves our deepest appreciation for his superb leadership of the committee that produced this report.

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--> These reports are exemplars of the Research Council's commitment to scientific rigor in the public interest: they provide clear and compelling statements of the underlying issues, cogent answers to nettling questions, and highly readable findings and recommendations. These reports will help illuminate the toughest issues in the ongoing debate over the proposed Voluntary National Tests. But they will do much more as well. The issues addressed in this and the other two reports go well beyond the immediate national testing proposal: they have much to contribute to knowledge about the way tests—all tests—are planned, designed, implemented, reported, and used for a variety of education policy goals. I know the whole board joins me in expressing our deepest gratitude to the many people who worked so hard on this project. These reports will advance the debate over the role of testing in American education, and I am honored to have participated in this effort. ROBERT L. LINN, CHAIR BOARD ON TESTING AND ASSESSMENT

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--> Acknowledgments This project would not have been feasible without the extraordinary contributions of many individuals and without the generosity of many institutions. We acknowledge with deep gratitude the indefatigable Bob Linn, who, as chair of the Board on Testing and Assessment (BOTA), again supplied wise counsel at every stage of the committee's work. Carl Kaestle, vice chair of BOTA, graciously helped us straighten out our understanding of the historical context of standards-based reform and the federal role in education. Other BOTA members also participated in numerous briefings, read earlier drafts, and made invaluable suggestions for improved language and tone. We thank our exemplary staff: Meryl Bertenthal, Cadelle Hemphill, and Lisa Alston, who joined the BOTA team only 9 months ago and quickly mastered the many aspects of their new jobs. Having now successfully completed the equivalent of a marathon-length run at the pace of a half-mile sprint, they are poised for continued involvement in many of BOTA's future projects. We have been most fortunate to work with Bert Green, an outstanding statistician whose wisdom and scholarship is reflected throughout the report. Bert attended all the meetings, worked tirelessly for greater precision in our language, and was a wonderful colleague. Other members of the BOTA staff—Bob Rothman, Karen Mitchell, Patricia Morison, Viola Horek, Naomi Chudowsky, Lee Jones, Kim

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--> Saldin, Alix Beatty, Allison Black, and Steve Baldwin offered advice and support and worked again as an invaluable team even though busy with their respective projects. Nancy Kober's fine editorial and substantive judgment is again evident in this report, for which we thank her. Barbara Torrey, executive director of the Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (CBASSE), and Sandy Wigdor, director of CBASSE's Division on Education, Labor, and Human Performance, have been sources of great encouragement and paved many paths from committee formation through report review. We are indebted, also, to the whole CBASSE staff for indulging our scheduling exigencies. Thanks also to Sally Stanfield and the whole Audubon team at the National Academy Press, for their creative and speedy support. Extra special thanks to Eugenia Grohman, the CBASSE associate director of reports. It is hard to imagine how we could have accomplished this and our other concurrent studies without Genie's expert judgment and finely tuned skill at editing and navigating multiple manuscripts. Only grudgingly do we accept that she will now have to turn more of her attention to other CBASSE projects. A word of acknowledgment to the sponsors of this study. We have benefited from supportive and collegial relations with members of the various House and Senate committee staffs—on both sides of the aisle—for whom the results of our work have such important implications. We thank them all for understanding and respecting the process of the National Research Council (NRC). Our contracting officer's technical representative, Holly Spurlock, of the U.S. Department of Education, has been a most effective project officer; we thank her for her patience and guidance throughout. Many other officials in the department, the National Assessment Governing Board, and in numerous private and public organizations involved in testing also deserve our thanks and recognition for their cooperation in providing information. The following individuals provided materials or made presentations to the committee: Edward Slawski, Harcourt Brace Educational Measurement; Sarah Hennings, Riverside Publishing; Stephanie Gertz, CTB/McGraw Hill; Wayne Martin, Council of Chief State School Officers; Bob Schwartz and Matt Gandal, Achieve, Inc.; Don McLaughlin, American Institutes for Research; Mark Wilson, University of California at Berkeley, and Wendy Yen, CTB/McGraw Hill. Their contributions were helpful to the committee's deliberations.

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--> This report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the NRC in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The content of the review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We thank the following individuals, who are neither officials nor employees of the NRC, for their participation in the review of this report: Robert Brennan, College of Education, University of Iowa; Arthur S. Goldberger, Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin; Lyle V. Jones, L.L. Thurstone Psychometric Laboratory, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Lincoln E. Moses, Department of Statistics (professor emeritus), Stanford University; Stephen W. Raudenbush, School of Education, University of Michigan; Henry W. Riecken, Professor of Behavioral Sciences (emeritus), University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; Richard Shavelson, School of Education, Stanford University; Mark Wilson, School of Education, University of California, Berkeley. Although the individuals listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, responsibility for the final content of this report rests solely with the authoring committee and the NRC. Above all, we thank the members of the committee, who understood both the urgency and significance of their charge, gave generously of their expertise and time, and met the highest standards of the 130-year old tradition of the National Academy complex in providing voluntary scientific advice to the government. That so many of them were willing and able to add hours to their already full days, and to share their wisdom with grace, humor, and impeccable rigor, is evidence of their commitment to scholarship in the public interest. Finally, we thank Roberta Holland for her patience, understanding, and good humor during our work on this project. No more 7 a.m. phone calls! PAUL W. HOLLAND, CHAIR MICHAEL J. FEUER, STUDY DIRECTOR COMMITTEE ON EQUIVALENCY AND LINKAGE OF EDUCATIONAL TESTS

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--> The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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--> Contents     Executive Summary   1 1   Tests and the Challenge of Linkage   7     Background   8     Committee's Approach   10     Drawing Inferences from Tests   12     Drawing Inferences from Linked Tests   15 2   Technical Aspects of Links   20     Constructing Links   21     Common Problems in Links   26     Evaluating Links   42     One Final Caution   47 3   Challenges of Linking to NAEP   48     Distinct Character of NAEP   49     Linking to NAEP   51     Challenges to the Validity of Linkage to NAEP   57

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--> 4   Tests and Testing in the United States: A Picture of Diversity   61     Types of Tests   62     Test Content   67     Testing in States and Districts   71 5   Conclusions   87     Factors that Affect the Validity of Links   87     Conclusions   91     Future Research   92     References   94     Glossary   101     Biographical Sketches   114

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Uncommon Measures Equivalence and Linkage Among Educational Tests

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--> Public Law 105-78, Enacted November 13, 1997 SEC. 306. (a) STUDY.—The National Academy of Sciences, in consultation with the National Governors' Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the White House, the National Assessment Governing Board, and the Congress, shall conduct a feasibility study to determine if an equivalency scale can be developed that would allow test scores from commercially available standardized tests and State assessments to be compared with each other and the National Assessment of Educational Progress. (b) REPORT OF FINDINGS TO CONGRESS.—(1) The National Academy of Sciences shall submit a written report to the White House, the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Labor and Human Resources of the Senate, and the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate not later than September 1, 1998. (2) The National Academy of Sciences shall submit an interim report no later than June 15, 1998.